Naomi Osaka knows how to create history.
At last year’s US Open she became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
She won a second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year to rise to world No.1, a first for an Asian woman.
The 21-year-old Osaka has more history to play for at Roland Garros, where she could become the first woman in the Open era to win their first three Grand Slam titles in succession.
American Jennifer Capriati was the most recent to attempt the record, falling two wins short in a Wimbledon semifinal run in 2001.
Women to win their first two Grand Slam titles in succession during the Open era:
|Player||Year||Result in third
|Evonne Goolagong Cawley||1971||Did not compete, US Open 1971|
|Chris Evert||1974||Semifinal, US Open 1974|
|Venus Williams||2000||Semifinal, Australian Open 2001|
|Jennifer Capriati||2001||Semifinal, Wimbledon 2001|
|Naomi Osaka||2019||?, Roland Garros 2019|
Winning three Grand Slam titles in a row is no easy ask – only five women have managed to do so in the past 35 years, with Serena Williams the only player to achieve the feat in the past 20 years.
Women to win three or more consecutive Grand Slam titles in the past 35 years:
|Martina Navratilova||3||Roland Garros 1984 – US Open 1984|
|Steffi Graf||5||Australian Open 1988 – Australian Open 1989|
|Steffi Graf||3||Wimbledon 1989 – Australian Open 1990|
|Monica Seles||3||US Open 1991 – Roland Garros 1992|
|Steffi Graf||4||Roland Garros 1993 – Australian Open 1994|
|Steffi Graf||3||Roland Garros 1995 – US Open 1995|
|Steffi Graf||3||Roland Garros 1996 – US Open 1996|
|Martina Hingis||3||Wimbledon 1997 – Australian Open 1998|
|Serena Williams||4||Roland Garros 2002 – Australian Open 2003|
|Serena Williams||4||US Open 2014 – Wimbledon 2015|
Osaka is among elite company to win the US Open-Australian Open double. Yet history shows that adding a Roland Garros title is difficult to achieve.
Only two women have transferred their hard-court dominance to the Parisian dirt in the past 35 years – Monica Seles in 1992 and Serena Williams in 2015.
Both were two-time Roland Garros champions at that stage of their careers, a much different situation to Osaka, who is making her fourth appearance in Paris and is yet to advance beyond the third round.
Roland Garros results of women to win the US Open-Australian Open double in the past 35 years:
|Player||Year||Roland Garros result|
|Monica Seles||1993||Did not compete|
|Justine Henin||2004||Second round|
|Kim Clijsters||2011||Second round|
Adding to the pressure, Osaka also enters this year’s Roland Garros as the No.1 seed at a Grand Slam for the first time.
It has been more than 16 years since a woman won a Grand Slam in their first appearance as a No.1 seed, stretching back to Serena Williams’ US Open victory in 2002.
Although history suggests the odds are against Osaka creating more history in Paris, she has already proven in her young career that she thrives on the Grand Slam stage.
“I feel like everyone knows that Grand Slams to me are like a playground. I have fun a lot there,” Osaka says.
Arguably, Osaka’s biggest challenge is believing in her own chances to win on clay, which she admits is not her “greatest surface”.
“I don’t really want to put too much pressure on myself like that because I feel like in the end I play my best when I’m enjoying myself,” she says.
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